Charlotte: Jeff Gordon preview

Changing track a concern for Gordon in '600,' not engine. CONCORD, N.C. - The engine underneath the DuPont Chevrolet is one thing Jeff Gordon won't worry about this weekend in the only 600-mile event on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. NASCAR...

Changing track a concern for Gordon in '600,' not engine.

CONCORD, N.C. - The engine underneath the DuPont Chevrolet is one thing Jeff Gordon won't worry about this weekend in the only 600-mile event on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule.

NASCAR implemented a "one-engine rule" at the beginning of the 2002 season. Many looked at this race as the true test since the same engine would be used in qualifying, practice and a 600-mile race.

"When NASCAR announced the rule, we were worried about this event," said Randy Dorton, Director of the Engine Department for Hendrick Motorsports. "We feel more comfortable now after monitoring engine components from other 500-mile races with additional miles added to them so far this season.

"We also put restrictions on the amount of miles our teams can put on a motor during practice leading up to the event. We want to be sure that we provide an engine that produces maximum horsepower and will last 600 miles on race day."

"Randy and the guys in the engine shop do a great job with the motors," Gordon said. "I know when we arrive at the track that we have some of the best motors available. All we need to worry about is getting the car through the corner because I know the car will be strong down the straightaways."

Sunday's 600-mile race at Lowe's Motor Speedway will get under way at 5:30 p.m. with the checkered flag falling approximately 4 0x00bd hours later in much cooler conditions. Communicating the changing track conditions is crucial in Gordon's quest for his fourth victory in 10 starts in NASCAR's longest race.

"It's a long race and you can't panic when they drop the green flag and the car isn't perfect," said Gordon, driver of the DuPont Chevrolet. "Conditions will change a lot as the sun goes down and the track temperature drops. The car must be adjustable and you have to go the right direction with your adjustments. Communication among the team is very important as the race wears on.

"While you have to be patient during this event, there's not much pacing going on. The cars work so well and the engines produce so much horsepower, it's just go-go-go."

Gordon, who won his first NASCAR Winston Cup race at Lowe's in May of 1994, will be a threat to win the pole during Thursday night's qualifying session. In the spring event in Charlotte, he won the pole five consecutive years (1994 - 1998), has started outside the top 10 only twice and has a 5.7 average starting position.

Overall at Lowe's, Gordon has four victories, seven poles, nine top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 18 events.

-hm/pprp-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon
Teams Hendrick Motorsports